VNA health fair a ‘great success’ |

VNA health fair a ‘great success’

Free event focuses on pediatric care

Nicole Inglis

Karina Romero doesn’t like seeing the doctor.

But, on Wednesday at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, the 4-year-old was calmly coloring, doing mazes and getting temporary tattoos in the waiting room, before being called in for her school physical.

Her mother, Maria, said she went to the VNA to learn more about the health of her children.

“I want them to grow up healthy and be healthy always,” Maria said in Spanish through interpreter Erika Reyes. “I want to know so that if something is wrong, they can tell me, and we can help them as soon as possible.”

Romero was just one parent to benefit from the activities and services offered at the “Caring for Kids” health fair.

The health fair was part of the celebration of National Health Center Week, which offers education and awareness about Federally Qualified Community Health Centers, such as the VNA, that provide services to the underserved and uninsured.

During the fair, free physicals, check-ups, well-child visits, dental and vision screenings were offered. The fair also provided behavioral health screenings, immunizations and information about Medicaid enrollment and eligibility.

While the children waited to be seen, several VNA employees helped run activity tables in the waiting room.

There also were informational tables, featuring a dietician from Women, Infants and Children, a state-funded program to keep pregnant and nursing mothers leading healthy and nutritious lifestyles.

The clinic saw 35 children Wednesday, meeting its limit for resources for the day.

Patients who came in after that quota was filled made appointments for another time but will still receive service for free.

Linda Geis, a pediatrician for a community health center in Fort Collins, visited the VNA for the week to help provide care for the back-to-school crowd.

“There’s a huge need for pediatric care,” Geis said. “I’ve seen a lot of kids this week. There’s definitely a need for more resources.”

She said working at the VNA was a pleasure and that she thinks it provides a necessary service to a medically underserved community.

“And the families here are so nice,” she said.

Health director Gisela Garrison called the free clinic and health fair a “great success.”

“I think today shows there is clearly a great need in the community, and that we have a need for a lot more space,” Garrison said.

The VNA plans to address the issue of space this fall as it completes an expansion that will double the number of exam rooms.

“A lot of people came here for the first time today,” Garrison said. “Hopefully they received a positive experience and they will come back and use the health center.”

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